Engaging people during a business meeting can be difficult so it’s essential you grab your audiences attention from the get go.
Thanks to our increased dependence on computer screens and devices, visual communication is fast becoming the universal way to converse.
In fact, people remember 80% of what they see compared to 10% of what they hear, according to psychologist Jerome Bruner of New York University.
With this in mind we reached out to Drew Banks, the head of International at Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software, to find out his favourite presentations ever used.
Banks says: “Great speakers entertain us. They persuade us and above all, they inspire us.”
Here are his top 10.
Winston Churchill: 'We Shall Fight on the Beaches'
Winston gave this speech in the House of Commons on 4 June 1940. In an era void of presentation software or computer visualisation, Churchill painted a visual landscape with his words. He showed his listeners the beaches, the fields, the streets and the hills on which they were impelled to fight for their island and their empire beyond the seas.
Barack Obama: 'The Audacity of Hope'
In 2004, Barack Obama was a veritable unknown senatorial candidate from Illinois. All that changed with his riveting keynote at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In this speech, Barack employs a tried-and-true technique used by political and religious leaders alike. It involves an orchestrated sequence of emotionally charged statements that builds to a rousing crescendo. Note how Barack underscores his cadence with diction, volume and body language.
Steve Jobs: 'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish'
Steve Jobs captivated his audiences with an archetypal persona: the quintessential outsider rising up against the status quo to ignite the fire of revolution. In his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, he was the college dropout rallying the next generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Steve’s revolutionary sentiment became a hallmark of Apple’s brand as he incorporated it in many of his public communications from product launches to marketing campaigns.
Mary Schmich/Baz Luhrmann: 'Everybody's Free'
You may not know Mary Schmich or Baz Luhrmann, but you have probably heard the phrase “Wear Sunscreen”. It is the opening line of a fictitious commencement speech written by journalist Mary Schmich — published in 1997 in the Chicago Tribune — that became a viral sensation long before YouTube. It spread so far and wide that it was erroneously attributed to many famous people (including Kurt Vonnegut) and turned into a spoken word song by Baz Luhrmann in 1998.
Hillary Clinton: 'Women in The World'
Hillary gave this speech on 10 March 2012 at the Women in the World Summit, held in New York City. Hillary often peppers her speech with an impressive array of personal stories (her own and others) that clearly illustrate her argument and showcase the depth and breadth of her experience. Her concluding statement of this speech also give her audience a real ‘call to action’ — a technique used by many great orators.
Paul Keating: 'Redfern Park Speech'
Paul’s speech, presented in Redfern Park on 10 December 1992, is arguably one of the greatest political speeches in Australia’s history. Though one could argue that Paul is not an inherently charismatic speaker, his studied, unapologetic delivery of his 1992 Redfern Speech is a great lesson in how to approach a deeply controversial topic.
Benjamin Zander: 'The Transformative Power of Classical Music'
Benjamin loves classical music. His passion for the topic oozes from his every pore. When he involves the audience it doesn’t feel like a calculated audience engagement technique, but rather an overwhelming desire to share this love with others. Wait and see, you too will hang on his every word.
Sir Ken Robinson: 'How Schools Kill Creativity'
Ken gave this thought-provoking speech at the 2006 TED Conference held in California. Regardless of whether Ken is speaking to large or small audience, you always have the feeling that it is an intimate one-on-one conversation. His authentic humility and wry humour make him utterly compelling.
John Bohannon: 'Dance vs. Powerpoint'
John’s 2011 speech is so beautifully choreographed that he manages to describe unbelievably complicated concepts, like lasers and superfluids, so all of us can understand. The presentation is the embodiment of the phrase we all know too well, ‘practice makes perfect’.
Al Gore: 'New Thinking on the Climate Crisis'
Al is not known for charisma. What he is known for is being the first person ever to turn a dry slide presentation into an Academy Award Winning movie. He is an expert at using visuals and data to support his argument. His well researched presentations often speak for themselves and he uses them illustratively as a means to reinforce what he is saying, rather than the other way around.
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